Friday, May 31,
Can't quite make
myself start reading the Mrs. Frank Leslie book again. I read almost
half of October
suite last night. It's about a black woman teacher
living in Kansas/Missouri in the 1950s just before Brown vs. the Board
of Education. She gets involved with a married man, gets pregnant,
moves back home to Ohio, gives her son to her sister to adopt, and
returns to Kansas to teach. That's about where I am now.
Thursday, May 30,
Started reading Purple
passage; the life of Mrs. Frank Leslie two nights ago. It's
by Madeline B. Stern who edited a Louisa May Alcott book. Mrs.
Leslie was a famous woman publisher born in 1836 in New Orleans.
I happened across the book while I browsed the shelf where it lives.
I've never heard of her, but apparently she was quite scandalous, and
that's what attracts me to a biography. The writing is average, but
I think it was published in 1953, the year my mother was born. So there,
I do read OLD books.
Tuesday, May 28,
I hoped to post on
Saturday but my access to the internet was circumvented. Well, I was
pissed about it, you see because I've been reading quite a bit lately.
Where to begin? I'm chucking Juniper burning tree. I've
read four or five other books since first starting it, and my attention
cannot be forced back to it. Plus, it's overdue at the library and I
cannot renew it.
Speaking of chucking, I also decided to go no further in Prozac
Nation. I believe I read about the first ten pages of the book
and it was just so boring and yucky. Poor little rich girl, boo-hoo.
I'd rather read about someone who has real problems.
My fascination with
women in adventurous professions led me to read Special
agent: my life on the front lines as a woman in the FBI,
although I'm wondering what her life was like as a MAN on the front
lines of the FBI. I know, I'm being smart. Must stop that. It's just
that the title is so.... well... stupid, so ummmmmm, obvious? While
it was somewhat interesting, and her life was challenging and she
did work in an adventurous field, I didn't particularly gain much
from reading it. Candice DeLong almost gladly endured sexual harassment
and, well I just wasn't convinced that she would be a good role model
for me, personally. However, she did work the Kaczynski
case and actually "apprehended" him at his cabin in Montana.
She wrote about the whole library & questioned document aspect
of the case, and even said that the librarian nearest his town was
his only friend.
I read Waiting:
true confessions of a waitress, which was okay.
Parts were interesting. I feel as though I know more about why waitstaff
deign to serve tables for one. But ultimately, it left me hungry.
Debra Ginsberg's website
looks pretty neat though.
Yesterday I began
Peter Jenkins new book
for Alaska. I readily admit that I'm a freak for
Alaska. I lived there a year and ever since I've left I can't get
enough of it. While I've always intended to return for good, I doubt
that will happen until I retire unless there is divine intervention
of some sort. So after reading it I fell into this nasty melancholy
which I still haven't shaken. It will likely haunt me for days, weeks
possibly. Despite the fact that Jenkins never visits or mentions my
beloved Sitka (which really isn't
Alaska, you know?), it was almost like being "home" again.
Blah, blah, sentimentalism kicks into high gear. Though it was a lengthy
book, it was quite good. I did think that he, quite obviously and
naturally, focused a bit too much on the MALE experience of Alaska.
Who knew? I'm still looking for the great Alaskan woman memoir.
I ripped through
to Addison, one of those New Brit Lit things. It
was comedic and actually quite appropriate for reading on a plane
or at the beach, and while I thought it was good, I kept picturing
the main character as Renee
Zellweger in Bridget Jones (which I did not read because I found
the cataloging of cigarettes coupled with pounds lost and gained to
be quite annoying, neurotic, and ultimately distracting from the narrative).
I suppose it's because the dialogue is so similar, as well as the
supporting characters. So quite fun and cheerio and all that, but
ultimately it was not my cup of tea. But, I wouldn't discourage anyone
from reading it, as it is quite the comedy of errors and may be just
what you need for a chuckle or two. I'm not sure what I'll read next.
However, the possibilities are endless. What to read? that IS the
Saturday, May 18,
Although I'd really
rather not be sick, it has afforded me a bit more leisure time to read.
Finished Enigma, which was pretty good although my eyes
crossed a few times when equations and such would pop up in the text.
Not my favorite book, but a interesting topic during wartime, although
I really don't like WW II stuff.
Next was Death
of a Princess. Yes, I know, I'm really quite trashy
at times in my reading selections. I suppose it is because I cut my
teeth on the National
Enquirer, Star, and Globe as a child. In
fact I have a scrapbook that contains embarrassing articles I clipped
from their pages regarding Michael Landon's divorce settlement, etc.
Reading about Diana's death was just one of those impulses that I
felt I should follow. The book was so-so, and didn't really tell me
much more than I'd already absorbed via
the media regarding conspiracy theories. It really doesn't dispel
those very well, and quite frankly insinuates that the British Embassy
was behind the whole plot. It also appears as though the major conspiracy
site no longer exists. Oh well. One must indulge oneself in crapola
every now and then. Personally, I lean toward believing conspiracy
theories. It's because I have such scorn for those in power and understand
that there are no limits to what they will do in the name of the crown,
flag, or in Christ or Allah's names, or whatever to justify the most
trivial of "threats."
Then I read About
a boy, which was really quite good. I liked it better
than High Fidelity, and probably the other Nick
Hornby novel that I read last month, though I can't recall its
title right now. I think what made it really great is that I pictured
Hugh Grant as
the character throughout the whole novel (for really obvious reasons,
right?), and that was certainly appealing, although I don't usually
find men who are 11 years older than me attractive at all, there's
just something about Hugh.
memoir, Honky that is, should you be confused, of growing
up as the only white kid in NY's ghetto was good, and short as well.
Easy to read. Filled with stories of tough times and class and racial
angst. He's a prof. at NYU, now, so
I guess it made him better for it. Well, he readily admits to his white
privilege, so there's never a question about that.
I picked up Hating
Whitey on a lark. I was interested in reading Horowitz's
previous book, Radical
Son, just to try and understand why how the worm
turns (or a better illusion, how one can be sucked into the dark side........Luke,
I am your father.....), but didn't get around to reading it. What's
so scary about him is that he fully embraces whatever side he's championing,
completely with blinders on. It's like he can't ever reach middle
ground and see both positive and negative things about his political
affiliation. His writings are quite compelling to say the least, and
it really give me insight into what the other side is thinking. Read
Sunday, May 12,
I was pleased with
ground. The characters and plot are well-developed
and complex. There are multiple stories going on which each character
and they're so wonderfully drawn and symbiotic that the book was a
true pleasure to read. I can't wait to read his next book. But, I
don't know the best way to recommend it to anyone, other than saying
that his style of writing was engaging, Marion really knew his characters,
and was able to share them quite brilliantly with the reader. There
are one or two things that I'm still curious about, loose ends that
weren't tied up, so I'm hoping that there's a "sequel."
It really seems as though the book ends way too soon. There's not
much resolution in the end and I grew quite attached to the characters
and really wanted to learn the outcome of their personal trials. A
bit of coal mining and scabs and such, but it didn't seem particularly
Tennessean or Appalachian for that matter. Marion didn't wrap up things
all neat and tidy, which I think is a good strategy to keep you thinking
about the characters, though it's quite frustrating as well. It's
one of the best books I've read this year, and it's not even half-over
yet. Hopefully there will be more to come.
Still pausing on
Juniper tree burning. Just started Robert
Although I didn't see
the movie, I do admire Kate
Winslet and will eventually see the movie. One of my general rules
of reading is to read the book prior to seeing the movie once it is
released on DVD. It's just the way I am, have always been that way,
for that matter. I know I have my "rules for reading"--like
one need's something like that when it comes to reading, but honestly
there are so many promising books out there that turn into sludge
that you simply cannot continue reading--in html form somewhere, but
I can't seem to find them now. I have a clear idea of what they are,
but don't want to list them at this moment.
Thursday, May 09,
Sigh....I hate it
when I have to interrupt my reading. And, I haven't been in Juniper
tree burning for a few days now. I decided that I must read
ground, since its a few days overdue at this point,
and then pick up in Juniper where I left off. Finished
about a chapter or two last night before bed. It takes place in Appalachia,
quite possibly Tennessee, though I'm still not terribly clear on that.
Here's a blurb from the Algonquin
page (there's really very little information out about the book or
Honestly my reading has suffered because I've had bookshelves built
along one of my walls in the living room. I've been trying to organize
them in some fashion. It's quite trying. I've grouped them by subject,
for now. I'm considering actually arranging them by Dewey. I think that
might totally drive me bonkers, but would really solve the problem so
Sunday, May 05,
No reading for some time now, unfortunately. Well, that is wrong. I am in beginnings of Juniper Tree Burning a fictional account of a hippie child's youth. It's not a very happy book, rather dark in places. The paperback cover looks much more judgeable, if you're the type to do that sort of thing, because I certainly am. And, I've got the hardback from the library. S & S provides a reading guide for the book as well. There are several discussion questions that you may peruse, if you are so inclined.
What I haven't written about though, is what I haven't read. There were 2 books that I began but then tossed aside rather quickly. Now, if I can just recall their titles...isn't THAT indicative that they weren't the slightest bit Memorable either? One was about this retired naval officer who set out with his wife and another man to sail around the world. It was likened to Melville, one of those epic man against nature things, I'll come up with the title someday. The inside of the book jacket, and I can never recall what that thing is really called, touted the book as some great literary masterpiece. Ummm, I didn't get that. I imagine that folks who write those blurbs must make much ado abut nothing. It was very flat. Very sparse. No meat in the text, very cardboard characterizations. Had to set it adrift.
Then I tried Snow
mountain passage, because cannibalism appeals to
me in a very unsettling way, and I'm a nut for western pioneer-type
stories. It's a fictionalized account of the Donner Party, looked
very promising, but I suppose last week I was just in some kind of
mood because I immediately decided that I could not go on with either
of these books. Read the NYT
review of snp and decide for yourself. At times I'm very impatient
with authors and if they don't hook me immediately, then so long,
goodbye to that book. Too many book, so little time. Although my summer
is already jam-packed with writing commitments, plus my day job and
my weekend job, I may not do as much reading as I'd like, but no doubt
I will have book in hand and every bad that I carry everywhere I may